Costa Rican Holidays
Costa Rica is a Catholic country and it’s holidays are mostly church-related. Most businesses, including banks, close on official holidays. The country closes down entirely during the biggest holiday time, Easter Holy Week, but only during Holy Thursday, Friday and Saturday, by Holy Sunday, some services might be available, but don’t count on it in remote parts of the country. Buses stop running on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Banks and offices are closed. And hotels and car rentals are booked solid weeks in advance as everyone seems to head for the beach. Avoid the popular beaches during Easter week. Most Ticos now take the whole Christmas holiday week through New Year as an unofficial holiday.
Easter is a perfect opportunity to see colorful religious processions. Individual towns also celebrate their patron saint’s day: highlights usually include a procession, plus bullfights, rodeos, dancing, and other parades. Fireworks and firecrackers are a popular part of local fiestas and church celebrations.
This is the list of the main and official holidays in Costa Rica:
January 1st: New Year’s Day, celebrated with a big dance in San Jose’s Parque Central.
March 19th: St. Joseph’s Day, patron saint of San Jose and San Jose province.
Easter: Holy Week, Semana Santa. Dates vary annually but businesses will often close for the entire week preceding Easter weekend.
April 11th: Juan Santamaria Day. Public holiday to commemorate the national hero who fought at the battle of Rivas against the American invader William Walker in 1856.
May 1st: Labor Day. Dia de los Trabajadores.
June: Corpus Christi
June 29th: St. Peter and St. Paul’s Day
July 25th: Guanacaste Day. To mark the annexation of Guanacaste from Nicaragua in 1824.
August 2nd: Virgin de los Angeles Day. Patron saint of Costa Rica.
August 15th: Mother’s Day and Assumption Day
September 15th: Independence Day, with big patriotic parades celebrates Costa Rica’s independence from Spain in 1821.
October 12th: Dia de la Raza (Columbus Day). Limon province only, marked by carnival, which take place in the week prior to October 12.
November 2nd: All soul’s Day
December 8th: Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
December 25th: Christmas Day. Family-oriented celebrations with trips to the beach. Much consumption of apples and grapes.